Onions are one of the most common ingredients of recipes in many different countries and cultures throughout the world. They come in many different forms; fresh, frozen, canned, caramelized, pickled, powdered, chopped and dehydrated and can be used in almost every type of food. It has been claimed throughout history that onions can help everything from the common cold to heart disease, diabetes and other diseases and in developing countries they are even placed on the skin to eradicate boils and blisters. Most of us eat something which includes onions every day, but few of us know exactly what health benefits they have.
Nutritional Value in Onions
Onions are naturally low in calories at only 45 calories per portion. They contain no fat or cholesterol and are very low in sodium. Onions are a good source of fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy and efficient. Onions also contain vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese and are a very good source of vitamin C.
Health Benefits of Onions
Onions were used originally by American settlers to treat colds, coughs and to repel insects and in Chinese medicine they have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections and breathing problems. The health benefits of onions go beyond old wives tales. It is scientifically proven that onion extract can help asthma sufferers and an onion even contains oligomers which can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Onions and the Cardiovascular System
Onions share some of the health benefits of garlic, which many of us know are good for thinning the blood. Both foods contain sulphides which can help to lower blood lipids and blood pressure. Onions help to prevent blood clotting as they contain flavonoids and other substances which when consumed can dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Other Benefits of Onions
Onions are good for almost every part of the body. They provide support for bone and connective tissue and offer anti-inflammatory benefits. In addition, onions help protect against cancers such as ovarian and mouth.
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